Suncoast Safety: What To Expect From Diversion Programs
If you’ve been convicted of a DUI, you know how much attorney’s fees, fines and insurance hikes can cost. However, now states like Florida are starting up DUI diversion programs for first time offenders or less serious offenses. Diversion programs can help to rehabilitate a person by looking at the DUI as more of a one-time mistake, rather than a repeat offense, and can actually help those who have been arrested from doing it again.
Diversion Programs: What Happens
Diversion Programs work alongside a suspended sentence. You may be required to take classes or participate in community service as part of your diversion. Once you have completed the court mandated hours, your arrest and conviction would essentially be erased. There are some states which will require you to plead guilty prior to getting assigned to a diversion program. Check with your DUI attorney to find out exactly what you will be required to do.
Some diversion programs include community service as part of your required hours. You may be asked to participate in clean-up duties in public parks or on the roadside, or you may even be asked to volunteer for community outreach programs. All of these sentences will require a certain number of hours, so be prepared. It’s also a good idea to keep track of your hours and dates in case any questions come up.
Getting yourself educated about the dangers of driving intoxicated is very big with many diversion programs, particularly in Florida and California. The idea is to teach you how dangerous what you’ve done is with the hope of steering you away from doing it again. You may also be required to take a defensive driving course, or even a health or quitting drinking class.
Going to AA is a great way to assess if you have an actual drinking problem and need further help, and courts will often require a certain number of meetings be attended in order to complete your diversion program. Though it may seem extreme, hearing other people’s stories and problems with alcohol can bring your own use into focus. Try to go in with an open mind and you will probably learn things about yourself that you were not aware of.
How To Get In A Diversion Program
If your drunk driving charge did not involve any damage or injuries and it is your first offense, it is very likely that either the prosecutor or judge will recommend you receive a suspended sentence and placement in a diversion program. Speak to a qualified DUI attorney about what you will need to do to avoid a jail sentence or a hefty fine. In some states you will need to plead guilty. Once you have been given your diversion program terms, you will need to do your best to stick to them. Failure to show up or complete your agreement will mean your original sentence is automatically changed to a conviction.
While getting a DUI for the first time is serious, it doesn’t need to be the end of the world. Use your diversion program to learn more about yourself and make a commitment to not repeating your mistake. The court is giving you an opportunity to make amends, so be sure to make the most of it.
Having lived in Florida for several years, writer Melanie Fleury knew of the diversion courses offered for those who are charged with a DUI. She was surprised to learn from, http://www.flduilawfirm.com/hillsborough-county-dui-attorney/, that these options are readily available and that jail time is not always the punishment for driving under the influence. She hope that those in need of help will contact a lawyer to find the options available to them.
Photo Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/44603071@N00/4356502272/
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